What is the evidence for wearing a face mask? Can it significantly slow the spread, or no? Who should wear a face mask and when should a face mask be worn? What's the most effective face mask? Should we keep them handy for a second (or third) viral wave? These questions and more are answered in this podcast.
In this episode of Causes or Cures, Dr. Eeks has a conversation with Dr. Benjamin Cowling, who recently published a study on the effectiveness of face masks in Nature Medicine. But more than that, he's been researching the pandemic since its initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, and authored several of the first papers, like this one in the New England Journal of Medicine, on the characteristics of the virus as well as its transmission dynamics.
Dr. Benjamin Cowling is the Head of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Public Health at Hong Kong University. He earned his PhD in medical statistics at the University of Warwick and did his postdoc fellowship at the Imperial College in London. In addition to leading the Epidemiology department, he is a co-director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control.
His primary area of research is infectious disease epidemiology, including modes of respiratory virus transmission, influenza vaccination effectiveness and immunity to infections on the individual and population level. He works closely with China CDC and the NIGMS-funded Harvard Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. Dr. Cowling's has over 426 publications, is a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, and an Associate Editor of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
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